Neighboring concepts of a trademark

Trademark and trade name

A trademark is an affixed mark that distinguishes one's goods from those of another, thereby preserving the identity of the goods. It may consist of symbols, characters, diagrams, a combination of these, or a color combination of these. A trade name is a name used by a merchant (legal equity or individual) to indicate his/her service business and maintain its identity. A form of personal name, the trade name is depicted and formed by characters, and must be used in the case of companies.

To address the international trend of trademarks composed of a trade name, or vice versa, a trade name may be used as a trademark in accordance with the Corporate Identification Program. A trade name used for a product mark may be protected as a legal trademark if it is registered in accordance with the requirements of a trademark registration. This growing number of trademarks composed of trade names will likely result in overlapping cases between two parties.

top button

Trademark and geographical indication

While a trademark identifies a "specific business subject" providing goods or services, a geographical indication identifies the "specific region" of origin of goods and/or the characteristics of a specific region the goods possess. A geographical indication enables one business to exclude other competitors from using a certain mark, but unlike a trademark, it has no "exclusive owner."

Both a trademark and a geographical indication have the function of representing the origin and quality of goods relating to business profits and receiving protection under the scope of intellectual property. Based on these similarities, some countries protect geographical indications as a trademark under a trademark and geographical indication protection act, while other countries protect geographical indications as a collective mark or certification mark under a trademark act.

In the Republic of Korea, geographical indications have been protected as a collective mark under the Trademark Act (Act No. 7290) since July 1, 2005. Under the Act, if a product has a specific quality, reputation, or characteristic originating from the geographic characteristics of a region, such as the climate, soil, or topography of the region, or personal conditions like traditional production methods, the geographical indication denotes the region in which the goods are produced, manufactured, and processed.

top button

Trademark and domain name

A domain name refers to the Internet Protocol address (IP address) of a website used to identify the location of the host server as well as ownership of the website. Trademarks indicate the source of goods while domain names indicate the host server of a website. Thanks to the emergence of e-commerce, the domain name itself also serves as an indicator of the origin of goods or services.

Cyber-squatting, the practice of registering another's trademark and then selling that trademark to the rightful owner at a higher price, has become more frequent across the internet leading to an increase in disputes over trademarks and domain names.

In the Republic of Korea, the registration of a trademark does not in principle grant its owner the right to register a domain name corresponding to the trademark or vice versa.

  • Last updated 30 SEPTEMBER 2016
  • Trademark Examination Policy Division